all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

White linen

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The name of a decent smelling perfume of the 80’s I seem to recall! And very trendy as a fabric for the 2016 I note, from looking at shop windows.

I decided that I should replace my brown linen trousers, which pre-date the blog and have never been photographed. I also decided that I should send my white denim RTW jeans to the charity shop. So it seemed logical to replace both with some white linen, wide legged trousers, particularly as I have worn these wide legged trousers so much.

I trawled through every fabric shop in Birmingham (and there are a few…) placing my hand behind each piece of fabric, and seeing my fingers every time. I walked out of every single fabric shop without buying anything. Remarkable. Clearly white linen trousers were not to be such a good idea.

So I eventually purchased some sturdy beige linen, through which I could not see my fingers! This meant that I needed to change the pattern that I was planning to use, as the sturdier linen would not drape as easily from an elastic waistband. So I used Gertie’s pant pattern for the 4th time in less than 3 weeks.

I spotted a mistake in the book. It doesn’t actually tell you to extend the back piece by 2″ – just the front. Now its obvious that you should extend both, but I trawled the internet a bit before cutting. During my trawl I found some poor reviews of Gertie’s Vintage Casual book, basically saying that the photos and patterns were quite dowdy, and in some cases, and the conversion to wide legged pants was quoted, that the design itself was wrong / amateur.

I bought the book because I wanted to explore the possibilities of hacking patterns. I used to do it a lot in the 70’s, but am more cautious now, mainly due to the complications of, shall we say, a none standard figure. So this looked like a book of relatively basic patterns, that the reader was being invited to hack. And I have found that the now adjusted shape of the trousers suits my figure, and thus I can hack away, warily, but happily! In fact it raised a question in my mind about the point at which a pattern ceases to be the original commercial pattern, and becomes, ‘your’ pattern, and thus gains the potential for being used by me, commercially. Just a thought. The market for ‘me sized’ clothes is probably limited to one.

So I did extend both the front and the back by 2″ at the bottom, tapering up to an unclear spot beneath the crotch. Then when I tried them on, I reduced the width on the inside seams by 1″ on each side, tapering up to somewhere round about the knee. Then I compared the profile with my wide legged trouser pattern and found them to be totally different, so that was not a helpful thing to do! As usual, I used a long machine sticth first (machine tacked) the seams, and then either stitched over the tacking, if I was happy, or stitched according to my adjustments, and then removed the tacking. Then I adjusted the template.

Having had trouble with trouser length before now, I was very cautious about getting the length right, because, being wide legged, I could only use a narrow machine stitched hem, giving me no margin for error. So I have erred on the long side. It took a few goes to get the length right on my own – pinning in front of a mirror, measuring, re-pinning, lining the whole garment up, pinning again, and so on, as is reflected in my Me Made May blog, when I changed from a dress to trousers, as I was taking these trousers on and off so frequently.

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This version has front pockets and is finished with a facing, as are all my versions now. I remove the waistband from the brown denim trousers.

And then I had fabric left over – just enough to make an A-line skirt. This is my 5th from this pattern.

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I didn’t really need another skirt, but I think it could be multi-seasonal and ought to go with pretty much anything. I lined it.

So much for white linen, but sturdy off white linen has done a good job.

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